House of Representatives today voted to ensure that veterans receive timely health care, allowing them to go outside the VA system if appointments are not available within a reasonable amount of time or if veterans live more than forty miles from a VA medical facility. The Veteran Access to Care Act authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to contract with non-VA facilities to provide health care for veterans, or to reimburse for services provided.
“While many have received excellent care at our local VA facilities, others have fallen through the cracks of a bureaucracy that lacks accountability and transparency. One preventable veteran death is one too many,” said Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX). “Thousands more are still waiting for appointments, needlessly suffering because they can’t get in to see a doctor. There’s just no excuse for this.”
The law also requires the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to have industry experts review the VA, looking for ways to improve care, and then submit a report to Congress on their findings. The Secretary will also be required to report to Congress with a plan for implementing the experts’ recommendations.
“Ultimately, we have to get the VA system fixed so that this never happens again, but in the meantime, our veterans deserve immediate relief. It just makes sense to let those who have sacrificed so much for our nation to seek help elsewhere when the VA system fails them,” concluded Brady.